To the family of the one thousandth victim of Israel’s genocidal slaughter in Gaza

27 July 2014

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Israelis in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square light candles for Palestinians killed in Gaza on 26 July.

(Yotam Ronen / ActiveStills)

I do not know yet who your loved one was. She might have been a baby a few months old, or a young boy, a grandfather or one of your children or parents. I heard about your loved one’s death from Chico Menashe, a political commentator on Reshet Bet, Israel’s main radio station.

He explained that the killing of your loved one, as well as turning Gaza neighborhoods to rubble and driving 150,000 people from their homes, is part of a well-calculated Israeli strategy: this carnage will destroy the impulse of Palestinians in Gaza to resist Israeli policies.

I heard this while reading in the 25 July edition of the supposedly respectable Haaretz the words of the not so respectable historian Benny Morris that even this is not enough.

He calls the genocidal policies so far “refisut” — feebleness of mind and spirit. He demands far more massive destruction in the future with the knowledge that this is how you behave if you want to defend your “villa in the jungle,” as former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak described Israel.

Inhuman wilderness

Yes, I am afraid to say the Israeli media and academia are fully behind the massacre apart from few, hardly audible voices in this inhuman wilderness. I am not writing this to tell you that I am ashamed — I long ago dissociated myself from this state ideology and do all I can as an individual to confront and defeat it. Probably it has not been enough; we are all inhibited by moments of cowardice, egotism and maybe a natural impulse to take care of our family and loved ones.

And yet I feel the urge today to make a pledge to you, which none of the Germans my father knew during the time of the Nazi regime was willing to make to him when the thugs committed genocide against his family. This is not much of a pledge at your moment of grief, but it is the best I can offer and saying nothing is not an option. And doing nothing is even less than an option.

This is 2014 — the destruction of Gaza is well documented. This is not 1948 when Palestinians had to struggle hard to tell their story of horror; so many of the crimes Zionist committed then where hidden and never came to light, even until today. So my first and simple pledge is to record, inform and insist on the truth.

My old university, University of Haifa, has recruited its students to disseminate Israel’s lies all over the world using the Internet, but this is 2014 and propaganda of this kind will not hold water.

Pledge to boycott

But surely this is not enough. I pledge to continue the effort to boycott a state that commits such crimes. Only when the Union of European Football Associations throws Israel out, when the academic community refuses to have any institutional ties with Israel, when airlines hesitate to fly there, and when every outfit that may lose money because of an ethical stance in the short-term understands that in the long run it will gain both morally and financially — only then we will begin to honor your loss.

The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement has had many achievements and continues its tireless work. The obstacles still include the false allegation of anti-Semitism and the cynicism of politicians. This is how an honorable initiative by British architects to force their colleagues in Israel to take a moral stance rather than be accomplices in the criminal colonization of the land was blocked at the last moment.

Similar initiatives were sabotaged elsewhere by spineless politicians in Europe and the United States. But my pledge is to be part of the effort to overcome these hurdles. The memory of your loved one will be the driving force, together with the vivid memory of the suffering of the Palestinians in 1948 and ever since.

Slaughterhouse

I do it all egotistically. I really pray and hope that in this worst moment of your life when Palestinians stand in Shujaiya, Deir al-Balah or Gaza City, gazing at the slaughterhouse created by Israeli warplanes, tanks and artillery, you would not lose hope in humanity.

This humanity even includes Israelis, those who do not have the courage to speak but who express their horror in private as my overflowing email and Facebook inboxes attest, as well as the small handful who demonstrate publicly against the incremental genocide in Gaza.

It also includes those not born yet who perhaps will be able to escape a Zionist indoctrination machine that teaches them, from cradle to grave, to dehumanize the Palestinians to such a level that the burning alive of a sixteen-year-old Palestinian boy fails to move them or shatter their belief in their government, army or religion.

Defeated

For their sake, mine and yours, I wish we can also dream of the day after — when Zionism will be defeated as the ideology that governs our lives between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean sea and we all have the normal life we crave for and deserve.

So I pledge today not to be distracted even by friends and Palestinian leaders who still foolishly pin their hopes on the long-gone “two-state solution.” If one has the impulse to be involved in bringing regime change in Palestine, the only reason to do this is for a struggle for equal human and civil rights and full restitution for all those who are and were victimized by Zionism, inside and outside the beloved land of Palestine.

May whoever is your loved one rest in peace knowing that their death was not in vain — not because it will be avenged and revenged. We do not need more bloodshed. I still believe there is a way of bringing evil systems to an end with the power of humanity and morality.

Justice also means bringing the murderers who killed your loved one and so many others to court, and we must pursue bringing Israel’s war criminals to trial in international tribunals.

It is a far longer way and, at times, even I feel the impulse to be part of a force that uses hard power to end the inhumanity. But I pledge myself to work for justice, full justice, restorative justice.

This is what I can pledge — to work to prevent the next stage in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

The author of numerous books, Ilan Pappe is professor of history and director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter.

Comments

God bless you and I prey and hope this stops ASAP! This is murder / genocide ! Shame on who sits back and says or does nothing!
God bless everyone with a kind warm heart!
God bless gaza❤️
I pranvera Sommer asipi live in the USA and I support gaza 100%

I pray that this carnage ends, sanctions against Israel NOW!

and i along with you.

I have made a similar pledge to myself in recent days. I'm just a small time "activist". I pledge to work harder at that. Much harder.

To the 1000th victim,and the many 1000s before, victims of Zionist aggression I pledge to fight in your name. Not with violence but with my voice, boycott and truth.

Thank you Ilan. I wish there were a lot more brave and sincere people like you. I do believe that as you continue to educate those that do not know, slowly but surely the tides will turn. It's a tough upward struggle and everyone must play their part. Not just to save the Palestinians, but to save their own humanity.

I make the same pledge Mr Pappe.

Like so many others, I'm grateful to Prof. Pappe for his courageous work uncovering and making known the truth about this dreadful movement called Zionism. And I wish to concur in his call for renewed struggle, through peaceful means, to ensure that the Palestinian people at last are free and that the poisonous descendant of Nazism is removed from Israel/Palestine.

Let this be a call for each of us to make that pledge.

Ilan makes that pledge while maintaing a family home there . He also uses El Al to visit . Trust he has a good explanation .

Ilam;
I fear that it will not be peaceful or reasonable actions that will ring the changes. There has never been any reasonable or decency in the Zionist enterprise, nor in those who supported them.

The price of Zionists remaining in Palestine --- that is historical Palestine --- has to be raised to a level beyond what the land thieves and free loaders are prepared to pay.

Thank you Dr. Pappe for your words and your sentiment. It warms my broken heart and restores my faith in humanity. And I agree that indeed the only way out of this nightmare is pursuing justice at the highest levels.
I too take the pledge to boycott, speak out, and seek justice.

What about all the innocent victims of Hamas? The children killed by the terrorists?

What do you mean? 256 dead children in Gaza!! 3 civilians in Israel! What a Balance. And I cannot hear the word 'terrorist' any longer. Just used as an excuse of massacre and genocide.

Over 250 children slaughtered by the IDF out of more than 1,000 victims. 3 civilians killed by Hamas. What are you even talking about?

And stop using the word terrorists. It's a propagandistic and racist term that is never applied to the IDF for no reason other than THR IDF's alliance with the West.

Stop colonizing Palestine, stop massacraing the Palestinians, stop the genocide, stop the settlements and then ask about Hamas.

Thank you for this moving letter. It gave me back a bit of hope in all this senseless human suffering. God bless you.

Thank you for your on-going work to bring to life

the Palestinian struggle for life and human rights, through your wonderfully researched and written word in print and online. You, a few other writers/other public figures (few and far-between), the protestors in the West Bank, Tel Aviv, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Gaza, anywhere/everywhere they are, are the light to me in this every-darkening tunnel that is the oppression, occupation and extermination of a people by Zionists.

Thank you Ilan for your invaluable contribution to the struggle for justice and peace in Palestine. The ethnic cleansing of Palestine, about which you taught us so much, is happening before our eyes. And our European and US leaders stand by while Palestinian children are slaughtered. Bravo to little Maldives for doing what every Western nation should be doing: announcing the boycott of Israeli products and the annulment of bilateral agreements in protest over Israel's massacres in Gaza.

i agree! we should all make this pledge and do what we can - however small it seems. Join protest marches - add our voice to the support of the Palestinians - use the boycott option! Zionism is a scourge - the world would be a better place if it could be rid of it!

Keep your pledge and your empty words. The Gazans, the Palestinians, the Muslims and Christians- we don't need your words. You are no hero compared to the smallest child who resists only by just surviving in Gaza. You are no supporter of the mother who kneels weeping over her dead children.

So go write your books and cash your checks. Do the rounds as a speaker and echo the same empty words around all the auditoriums of the world. Your support will still mean little more than nothing. Unneeded, unwanted, sadly paling in comparison to the courage of a man who is shot while looking for his relatives amongst the rubble and shouts, not "curse you Israel", but only "God is Greatest!"

Adam: Nothing is 'enough!'

When I started on this journey, it was not possible to get a letter into the MSM that was in any way critical of Israel. Palestinians were presented as terrorists, stupid, living in mud huts, ...

I, like many others have worked to get the situation changed. Worked, and contributed whatever money we could in the hope that it may help, just a little bit.

Enough? no, never will be unless public opinion compels our various governments to turn against Israel.

Enough, compared to those who live and die, and watch their children die under the horror that is Israel.

I know of no one who believes that we have done enough. No one who would not like things to have moved faster. But the people who have come to help, the medical teams, the journalists put their lives on the line to get the truth out into the wider world --- do not write off their efforts so casually.

This is really very sad Adam. At least he is doing something positive. What are you doing personally to change the plight of the Palestinians?

Thank you so much dear Ilan.
I make the same pledge as yours.

I too join with Ilan Pappe.

Evil systems do end; commitment to justice and humanity does matter.

It's worth remembering St. Augustine's comment that hope has "two beautiful daughters." They are anger -- at the way things are -- and courage, to confront the wrongs and to change them.

And there's the Talmud's dictum that anyone who has an opportunity to oppose a wrong, and does not, assumes part of the responsibility for the wrong.

Let's try to nurture the daughters of hope, so that hope may never die.

justice delayed is justice denied; Professor Ilan Pappe. Move the International court of justice now. israel seems to be killing two birds with one stone; bombard on the pretnse of war, save on demolition of buildings; for rebuilding a state for Palestinians, who shall never raise their head against their ?Kings or Lords. The funds for rebuilding have been pledged by many rich partners of this unholy coalition. Humanity is being slaughtered!

Please stop Israel murdering Palestinians, I beg the world to act to force Israel to stop this genocide.

The UK and US governments are complicit in these war crimes and the Prime Minister and President should be charged, found guilty and imprisoned.

Why are they happy to apply sanctions against Russia for speaking the same language as those in eastern Ukraine, but are afraid to even criticise Israel.

Every nation should apply sanctions against Israel until they stop the genocide and deliver reparations to Gaza, Palestine and all Palestinians. I am boycotting anything from or for Israel, I ask you all to do the same.

I'm glad you wrote this. The killing must come to an end.

The Christian community in Iraq would not agree with your proposal for one state. Look what happened to them.

I would like to express my condolences for both Palestinian and Israelis civilians, families who lost their loved ones, friends and neighbors. This war in the Middle East is sickening and seeing small kids and babies die for nothing is a crime, shame on Israel. History will not forget what is happening there in the last couple of weeks.

The world is watching without doing anything to stop the Genocide. Shame on all the big major powers.

How many more innocent people should die.....?

Please wake up and stop the GENOCIDE!

Look out into the dawn
Look out onto the dusk
The rubble may blind you
But hope must remain
What leaders
For the people are treated with disdain
Let us talk. Palestine and Israel?!
For the world. You must talk too. And listen. And act.
In a land where the birds are scared to fly
The sun sets and rises
Another Day
Let's rebuild Gaza.
One brick at a time

I agree with the professor, there can only be ONE PALESTINE !

I much appreciate Professor Pappe's courage. I wonder, however, how he imagines a one-state solution would work when the Zionists have complete control of all services, land distribution and state of the art military technology, and treat the existing Israeli Palestinian communities as inferior citizens? I am just appalled at the fact that the world stands by whilst European and American Zionists, Jews and Protestants alike, can get away with the Great Lie of claiming rights to a land occupied by a people who have already been subjected to millennia of waves of invasion and religious conversion. Prof. Pappe is right in this respect: the Palestinians are being stripped of both their past and their future, which is a loss to world heritage. What the world will be left with is not the 'Holy land', which the Palestinians of Jewish, Christian and Muslim heritage jointly nurtured for us, not Eretz Israel, but Ersatz Israel, based in a Disneyland of fake archeaology and fabricated history.

We are One world.
One Family.
Only Traders of war profit from war, using Hate as a Capital.
Hate destroys.
Hate brings horror and sufferings to the innocent.
Hate divides and destroys.
Love builds and unite.
Love brings Peace and Prosperity.
Hate brings devastation.
Love not hate.
Dialogue not war.
Humanity above everything.
Peace for all.

Let this carnage come at a very high price to Israel. Boycott, boycott, boycott, economic, cultural, academic, tourism, consumer goods. Boycott Israel and let this massacre be the last it carries out. The world should not be silent any longer. Make a boycott Israel sign, poster etc and put it on your fron door, paste it in your neighbourhood.

Never heard of Prof Pappe before, but reading this has given a boost to my faith in humanity. Voices like yours need to be heard so as to reassure folks like me that not every Israeli or Jew is an accomplice in this heinous crimes against the Palestinians. According to Wole Soyinka "The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny," Prof Pappe, with your example and leadership, the man in me will never die. I take the pledge too.

thanks to all i've always believed that there are people who would stand against tyranny and like napoleon saidin his famous quote; 2 forces in the world the sword and the spirit. in the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit. the zionist with all their war arsenal made in america will be defeated sooner or later. long live palestine

David Ben Gurion (the first Israeli Prime Minister): "If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti - Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?" Quoted by Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif (The Jewish Paradox), pp121.

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